April 22, 2021

Just Get Home Blog Tour: Excerpt

 

 


JUST GET HOME

Author: Bridget Foley

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publication Date: 04/13/2021

Publisher: MIRA


Description:

 

When the Big One earthquake hits LA, a single mother and a teen in the foster system are brought together by their circumstances and an act of violence in order to survive the wrecked streets of the city, working together to just get home.


Dessa, a single mom, is enjoying a rare night out when a devastating earthquake strikes. Roads and overpasses crumble, cell towers are out everywhere, and now she must cross the ruined city to get back to her three-year-old daughter, not even knowing whether she's dead or alive. Danger in the streets escalates, as looting and lawlessness erupts. When she witnesses a moment of violence but isn't able to intervene, it nearly puts Dessa over the edge.

Fate throws Dessa a curveball when the victim of the crime—a smart-talking 15-year-old foster kid named Beegie—shows up again in the role of savior, linking the pair together. Beegie is a troubled teen with a relentless sense of humor and resilient spirit that enables them both to survive. Both women learn to rely on each other in ways they never imagined possible, to permit vulnerability and embrace the truth of their own lives.

A propulsive page-turner grounded by unforgettable characters and a deep emotional core, JUST GET HOME will strike a chord with mainstream thriller readers for its legitimately heart-pounding action scenes, and with book club audiences looking for weighty, challenging content.

Prologue


Assist the client in gathering possessions.

Beegie saw it written on a sheet Karen had in her folder. An unticked box next to it. 

She knew what it meant. Stuff

 But it was the other meaning that soothed her.

 The darker meaning. Possessions.

That was the one she worked over and over in her head.  

Beegie imagined her case worker holding up a grey little girl, face obscured by black hair and asking, “This one yours?”  Beegie would nod. Yes, that’s my monster. Together they would shove one snarling, demon-filled person after another into the garbage bags they had been given to pack her things. Soon the bags would fill, growing translucent with strain. When they were done, she and Karen would have to push down on the snapping, bloody faces of Beegie’s possessions so they could close the back of the Prius.  

    But Karen’s box remained unticked. She didn’t get to help collect Beegie’s possessions, real or unreal, because Beegie’s stuff was already on the street when she got home. 

Two garbarge bags filled with nothing special. Her advocate standing next to them with her folder and its helpful advice for what to do when a foster gets kicked out of her home. 

Nothing special

Just almost everything Beegie owned in the world. 

Almost but not all. 

    Whatever. 

After Karen dropped her off and Barb had shown her “Her New Home” and given her the rundown on “The Way It Works Here,” Beegie unpacked her possessions into a bureau that the girl who’d lived there before her had made empty, but not clean. 

The bottoms of the drawers were covered in spilled glitter. Pink and gold. Beegie had pressed the tips of her fingers into the wood to pull it up, making disco balls of her hands. 

But she failed to get it all. 

Months later, she would find stray squares of this other girl’s glitter on her clothes. They would catch the light, drawing her back to the moment when she’d finally given up on getting the bureau any cleaner and started to unpack the garbage bags. 

    There had been things missing. 

That Beegie had expected. 

But what she had not expected was to find two other neatly folded garbage bags. These were the ones she had used to move her stuff from Janelle’s to the Greely’s. She had kept them, even though back then Mrs. Greely was all smiles and Eric seemed nice, and even Rooster would let her pet him. 

Beegie had kept the bags because she’d been around long enough to know that sometimes it doesn’t work out. 

In fact, most times it doesn’t work out. 

And you need a bag to put your stuff in and you don’t want to have to ask the person who doesn’t want you to live with them anymore to give you one. 

But when Mrs. Greely had gathered Beegie’s possessions, she had seen those bags and thought that they were important to Beegie. It made sense to her former foster mother that a “garbage girl” would treasure a garbage bag. 

This got Beegie thinking about stuff. The problem of it. The need for things to hold your other things. Things to fix your things. Things to make your things play.  

And a place to keep it all. 

In Beegie’s brain the problem of possessions multiplied, until she imagined it like a landfill. Things to hold things to hold things, all of it covered with flies, seagulls swooping. 

Everything she ever owned was trash or one day would be. 

Seeing things this way helped. It made her mind less about the things that hadn’t been in the bag… and other things. 

Beegie picked at ownership like a scab, working her way around the edges, flaking it off a bit at a time. Ridding herself of the brown crust of caring. 

Because if you care about something it has power over you. 

Caring can give someone else the ability to control you and the only real way to own yourself was let go.

So she did. 

Or she tried.  

Some things Beegie couldn’t quite shed. The want of them stuck to her like the glitter. The pain of their loss catching the light on her sleeves, flashing from the hem of her jeans. The want would wait on her body until it attracted her attention and then eluded the grasping edges of her fingers. 

 

Excerpted from Just Get Home by Bridget Foley, Copyright © 2021 by Bridget Foley. Published by MIRA Books.

Originally from Colorado, Bridget Foley attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and UCLA's School of Theater, Film & Television. She worked as an actor and screenwriter before becoming a novelist. She now lives a fiercely creative life with her family in Boise, Idaho.


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April 20, 2021

Release Day Spotlight: The Social Graces by Renee Rosen

The Social Graces
Author: Renee Rosen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Berkley

Description:

The author of Park Avenue Summer throws back the curtain on one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Mrs. Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor's notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.

In the glittering world of Manhattan's upper crust, where wives turn a blind eye to husbands' infidelities, and women have few rights and even less independence, society is everything. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor—the Mrs. Astor.

But times are changing.

Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America's richest families. But what good is money when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything.

Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this is a gripping novel about two fascinating, complicated women going head to head, behaving badly, and discovering what’s truly at stake.


 

 

 

April 16, 2021

The Helm of Midnight Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway




The Helm of Midnight
Author: Marina Lostetter
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Publisher : Tor Books; 1st edition
Language : English

Description:

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

In a daring and deadly heist, thieves have made away with an artifact of terrible power--the death mask of Louis Charbon. Made by a master craftsman, it is imbued with the spirit of a monster from history, a serial murderer who terrorized the city with a series of gruesome murders.

Now Charbon is loose once more, killing from beyond the grave. But these murders are different from before, not simply random but the work of a deliberate mind probing for answers to a sinister question.

It is up to Krona Hirvath and her fellow Regulators to enter the mind of madness to stop this insatiable killer while facing the terrible truths left in his wake. 

Praise for THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT:

"The Helm of Midnight transports readers to an intensely unique and creative world, with interwoven secrets and heart-pounding action. Bloody, ambitious, and absolutely riveting." ―Andrea Stewart, author of The Bone Shard Daughter

"A mysterious and mind-ripping journey through the mystic depths of time and the darkness of the human psyche." ―Matt Wallace, author of the Sin du Jour and Savage Rebellion series

"Beautiful and vicious, The Helm of Midnight will snare you with its intriguing mystery and then enthrall you with its rich characters and inventive world." ―Megan E. O'Keefe, author of Velocity Weapon

You can purchase The Helm of Midnight at the following Retailers:
        
Melanie and Leiwood returned to the inn with sacks of minerals, chemicals, and dried herbs. As they walked, Leiwood seemed to drag his feet, which she found galling. Her impatience from earlier was restored posthaste.

Was he trying to exasperate her? Did he not see how important it was to restore the

equilibrium? The asymmetry fed on her nerves, tore at her muscles, weighed heavy in her chest. There was a struggle going on in every fiber of her body, demanding she cure the problem.

An image of a dead cat and a weeping, disheveled girl came to her mind, unbidden. It frightened her, and she vehemently shooed it away.

Back at the inn, Melanie didn’t want to wake her mother, so they went to Leiwood’s room instead. “Mortar, pestle,” she demanded, snapping her fingers at him. Obediently, he drew the tools from one of the bags. While she worked, he set out the rest of the gear: a small burner, some test tubes, a beaker, and the syringe.

Into the crucible went sulfur, calcium, and dried reishi mushrooms. She topped it off with a liquid catalyst that glowed an eerie, subtle green. “It has to rest for several hours,” she declared after thoroughly mixing the substances. “This cure demands time.”

Leiwood sat on his bed, giving her a sideways look. He’d been staring at her strangely since they’d gone out to get the ingredients. It worried her. Annoyed her. Disturbed her.

Just like his father, she thought harshly. Brutal man...killed my daughter’s cat.

Melanie pulled up short, confused by the thought—she wasn’t a mother. Within an instant, that confusion turned to fear as she tried to tell Leiwood about her wayward thoughts, tried to ask him if that was how it started—if this was, in actuality, what he’d meant.

Her lips parted, but her throat closed. She was shoved down in her own body, pushed, compressed, torn away from her own hands, her own voice. Something else was taking control.

She watched herself wander over to the fireplace and look deep into the red coals. “They say I’m a great healer,” her voice said.

No, no, no. This wasn’t happening—couldn’t be. It was a Magnitude Zero mask. Magnitude Zero. Third Tier. Harmless, useful. A healer’s mask.

Leiwood’s answer came tentatively. “Master Belladino was, yes.”

“I could cure any ailment,” her voice continued. “Save the dead from dying.”

“Melanie?”

My unfinished work. The thoughts weren’t her own, but they filled her brain, pushed out whatever she might be thinking. She was on the verge of panic, except her body didn’t think so. While her mind reeled, her body remained calm. She struggled with it—with him? With Belladino?—but their thoughts were sticky, mixing, intertwining. She didn’t know where the echo of this man’s life ended and where she began. I died before I could finish my work.

Copyright © 2021 by Marina Lostetter

Photo Credit: Jeff Nelson

The open skies and dense forests of the Pacific Northwest are ideal for growing speculative fiction authors–or, at least, Marina Lostetter would like to think so. Originally from Oregon, she now resides in Arkansas with her spouse, Alex. In her spare time she enjoys globetrotting, board games, and all things art-related. Her original short fiction has appeared in venues such as Lightspeed, Uncanny, and Shimmer Magazine. Her debut novel, NOUMENON, and its sequels, NOUMENON INFINITY and NOUMENON ULTRA, are available from Harper Voyager. Her first fantasy novel, THE HELM OF MIDNIGHT, is forthcoming from Tor. In addition, she has written tie-in materials for Star Citizen and the Aliens franchise. She is represented by DongWon Song of the Howard Morhaim Literary Agency, and she tweets as @MarinaLostetter.

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WEEK ONE
APRIL 12th MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
APRIL 13th TUESDAY Kait Plus Books EXCERPT
APRIL 13th TUESDAY Rajiv's Reviews REVIEW
APRIL 14th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books GUEST POST
APRIL 14th WEDNESDAY Lady Hawkeye EXCERPT
APRIL 15th THURSDAY BookHounds INTERVIEW
APRIL 16th FRIDAY A Dream Within A Dream EXCERPT
APRIL 16th FRIDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW

WEEK TWO
APRIL 19th MONDAY Ya It's Lit REVIEW
APRIL 20th TUESDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW
APRIL 20th TUESDAY Polish & Paperbacks REVIEW
APRIL 21st WEDNESDAY Metaphors and Miscellanea REVIEW
APRIL 21st WEDNESDAY Books and Zebras REVIEW
APRIL 22nd THURSDAY Gwendalyn's Books REVIEW
APRIL 23rd FRIDAY The Bookwyrm's Den REVIEW
APRIL 23rd FRIDAY Insane About Books REVIEW




The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman Blog Tour: Excerpt

 

 

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

Author: Julietta Henderson

Release Date: April 13, 2021

Genre: Fiction/Humorous/Coming of Age

Hardcover

$25.99 USD, $32.50 CAD

400 pages


Description:

 

Little Miss Sunshine meets Wonder in this delightfully charming, uplifting book club debut about a twelve-year-old would-be comedian who travels across the country to honor his dead best friend’s dream of performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe—the only problem being that his friend was the funny one of their duo.

 
Twelve-year-old would-be comedian Norman has got a lot going on, including a chronic case of psoriasis, a distinct lack of comic timing and a dead best friend. All his life it’s just been him, his single mum Sadie, and Jax, the ‘funny one’ of their comedy duo. So when Jax dies not only is Norman devastated, it’s also the end of the boys’ Five Year Plan to take their comedy act to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe when they turned fifteen.

 

But Norman decides to honor Jax by performing at the Fringe, on his own. And not when he’s fifteen—but rather in four weeks’ time. But there’s another, far more colossal objective on Norman’s plan that Sadie wasn’t quite ready for: Norman wants to find his father. Eager to do anything that might put a smile on her boy’s face, Sadie resolves to face up to her own messy past and track down the father who doesn’t even know Norman exists, and whose identity Sadie herself isn’t quite sure of.

 

Thus begins a road trip from Cornwall to Scotland, featuring a mother and son who will live in the reader’s heart for a long time to come.

1

SADIE


When I was born my insides lay outside my body for twenty-one days. Which is unexpected but not nearly as unusual as you might think. For every 3,999 other babies that come out with everything tucked in neatly and sealed away exactly where it should be, there’s one like me. Nobody really knows why. Luck of the draw, my father used to say. 

For those three weeks while I lay spread-eagled in an incubator like a Nando’s special, a crowd of doctors gathered every morning to discuss their cleverness and, as my organs shrank to their correct size, bit by bit they gently posted a little more of the me-parts that had made a break for it back inside. 

Well that’s the way my mother told it anyway. The way my father told it, the doctors gathered around the incubator every morning to discuss whether they’d be having my large intestine or my liver for their lunch, and whether it’d be with chips or salad. And that right there might tell you almost everything you need to know about my parents.

On my insides’ final day of freedom the head surgeon pushed the last bit through the slit in my stomach and stitched it closed, presumably with everything in its rightful place. I was declared whole and sent home to begin life like almost nothing had ever happened.  

Except that even when the regular hospital check-ups stopped, and the scar on my stomach that I’d never lived without faded to a thin silver seam, I can always remember still feeling the tugging behind it. Something I could never quite name, nudging at the fleshy edges whenever things were going badly, or too well. Or just for fun. To remind me how easily those parts of me that never really fit could come sliding out. Any time we like Sadie. Any time we like.

It wasn’t until I held my own son for the first time that the constant, dull pressure of keeping the scar together receded. When a nurse placed that slippery, crumpled up bundle of boy on my chest, I tightened my grip on a handful of hospital sheet as my world creaked on its axis, bumped into a comfy spot and was finally facing the right way.  

    I didn’t feel the tug on the scar again until a different boy died, and to say I wasn’t ready for it isn’t even the most important thing. Because by then there was a lot more at stake than just my own stupid insides spilling out into the world. I was as scared as hell and I had no idea how to fix any of it. And that right there might tell you almost everything you need to know about me.


2

NORMAN

First rule of comedy: Timing is everything


Timing is everything. First rule of comedy, Jax says. Because when push comes to shove, if you can get the timing right you can get a laugh. He says. Well I don’t really know how to tell when push is coming to shove but I’ll tell you something I do know. That rule works the other way too. Because when the you-know-what starts to hit the fan, if your timing’s wrong there’s pretty much zilcho you can do to stop it from splattering all over the place. 

Stare straight ahead and think about nothing. That’s a world famous Jax Fenton tactic for what to do when you get yourself into a bit of a mess. Works every time he reckons and he should know. Only maybe it doesn’t. Because when I stare straight ahead all I can see is that big shiny wooden box and instead of nothing I’m thinking about everything. And loads of it. Like does any light get in through the joins and did they let Jax wear his Frankie Boyle Tramadol Nights tour t-shirt. And does whoever put him in there know he only likes to sleep on his side. 

The massive scab on my chest feels so tight that I’m scared to breathe too deep in case it splits down the middle and bleeds all over my new shirt. Stare straight ahead. I move just a bit so I almost can’t see the box behind a couple of heads and my arm touches Mum’s. When I feel her, straight away the mess on my chest relaxes and lets me take half an almost good in-breath. Nearly a whole one. Right before it stabs me all the way through to my back and kazams like a rocket down to my toes. I’m pretty sure I can hear it laughing. Timing is everything, sucker.  

And by the way, that’s another thing I know. That you can’t trust your timing no matter how good it’s been in the past. Not even for people as excellently funny as Ronnie Barker or Dave Allen or Bob Mortimer. Or Jax. 

Because even if you nick a little bit of money for sweets every week-day morning from your mum’s purse, even if you accidentally-on-purpose leave your stepfather’s car door open so the cats get in and wee on the seats, and even if you’re the naughtiest kid in the whole school by a long shot, when you’re eleven years, 297 days and from what the paramedics can tell anything between twelve and sixteen hours old, it’s definitely not a good time to die. 

Stare straight ahead and think about nothing. 

                       


3

SADIE


Squashed into the end of the pew with my body leaning into the shape of the space that Norman’s made, I could feel the tense and release of his arms as his small boy hands curled in and out of fists. The buttoned down cuffs of his sleeves rode up ever so slightly with every movement to reveal the trail of psoriasis that spread triumphantly down to the second knuckles. His face was blank as a brick. Dry eyes staring straight ahead. 

‘Just hold on. Hold on son. You’ll get through this.’ I murmured reassuringly. Telepathically. But Norman’s hands kept on curling and flexing and then I noticed his chest was keeping time, rising and collapsing with the movement of his hands. I knew what was lying in wait underneath the thin fabric of his shirt, so then I had another thing to worry about. 

I had to admit it looked like he wasn’t getting my message, possibly because my best telepathic motherly voice was being all but drowned out by the other, very much louder one that lived in luxury inside my head. Fuck you Sadie. You can’t even get this right. As usual it wasn’t pulling any punches.

    The priest who had never met him declared the end to Jax’s life and people began shuffling out of the pews as fast as they could, as if death might still be hanging around looking for company. They knocked our knees, murmured apologies and spilled their overflow of sadness all over us. Like we needed it. The moving huddle in the aisle parted from the back as Jax’s parents set off on their million mile walk, and without turning my head I felt more than saw Josie Fenton hesitate ever so slightly as they passed us. But then they were gone. And my son’s eyes remained fixed on some invisible point that I could only hope lay somewhere far, far beyond the awfulness of the moment. 


A good forty minutes after the last person had left, I reached for Norman’s nearest hand and closed it gently between mine. The chill of the empty church had sidled deep into my bones and I was shocked at the heat of his raw knuckles on my palms. The voice in my head began stage whispering nonsense louder and louder and Norman’s hand stayed rigid in its fist. But I didn’t need that voice to tell me what I’d already figured out about thirty-eight minutes before. I wasn’t going to be nearly enough for this. 


4


There’s a good chance Norman’s father is one of four people. Now I know how that makes me sound, but it’s a fairly reasonable alternative to the other scenario, which is that he would quite possibly have been one of several more if circumstances had allowed. 

But anyhow, who provided the champion Y chromosome that coasted up a lager and lemonade river to victory in my ovaries never really came up in Norman’s first twelve years of life. Mainly because I’d pretty much convinced myself that I was all the parent he needed. I was enough. And, to be fair, Norman had never given me any reason to question my conviction, no matter how many mistakes I made on the job. And there’s been a lot, believe me. Which you probably do based on first impressions. 

I never knew a thing about boys until I became the mother of one, even though in theory a boy is just a smaller version of a man and clearly I thought I knew quite a lot about them at one point. As a general rule I’ve found men don’t really require any complicated directions, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to get exactly what’s on the tin when you bring one home. And serves you right most of the time. But it turns out a boy is nothing like a man at all, because they could definitely do with coming with some directions. And when you bring one of them home, before you even get him through the front door he’s already got your heart scrunched up in his fat baby fist like a bad betting slip. And he’s starting to squeeze.  


I named my son Norman because there was nobody to tell me not to. And because I liked it. That could have been my first mistake and who knows, maybe I would have listened if someone had told me that Charlie or Harry or Freddie might be a lighter load for a kid to swing onto his back and carry around for an entire lifetime. That other children, and even adults who should bloody well know better, might find a thousand cruel ways to use a name chosen with love to try to bring your boy down. That maybe, just maybe, naming a post-millennial baby after a 1950s comedian was not the best idea I’d ever had. Although you should know that it also wasn’t the worst. 

The fact that his name had to attach itself to the caboose of our surname was probably my second mistake. And although I’ve always thought that Norman Foreman has a certain resonance to it, I’ve yet to find someone that wholeheartedly agrees. Except Jax of course. 

‘Coolest name ever Normie boy!’ Coolest kid ever.

Norman never had a best friend before Jax. In fact, if I’m honest, he never really had a proper friend at all. But when Jax showed up at Alverton Community Primary wielding a truncheon of six-year-old East London bravado over his shell-shocked Cornish classmates, for Norman it was love at first sight. Just like he always does though, even when he wants something really, really badly, he sat back politely and waited his turn. 

It took Jax less than a week to alienate every kid in his class, and most of the teachers as well, before noticing Norman and deciding that he could well be his last chance in the best friend saloon. That was six years ago, and from the moment the deal was sealed over a shared two-week detention for switching around the contents of the entire Year 3’s school bags (verdict: Jax guilty as hell, Norman guilty of being an inexperienced and therefore ultimately unsuccessful lookout), you couldn’t separate those two with a scalpel. I’d lay money that there weren’t two more different boys on the planet and yet somehow they just clicked. They were, ‘The bloody Rolls bloody Royce of bloody best friends,’ as Jax so eloquently put it.

But Jax died. And so it came to be that on the kind of day sons should be out in a park kicking a football, or chasing dogs down on the beach with their mates, I sat next to my good boy in a church full of damp cheeks. Trying hard not to think about that other rude, grubby, magnificent bad boy lying just a few metres away. And even though there was no chance in hell of it coming true, I’d still half expected to hear a kicking at the lid of that coffin at any moment, and a wild-haired laughing kid to splinter through and shout, ‘Gotcha suckers!’ 

Because that was Jax’s approach to life, the universe and everything really. Feet first, break the door down and damn the consequences. He’d arrive at our house nearly every day like that, body lengths ahead of Norman, bullying our front door handle nearly off its thread and following up with a totally unnecessary karate kick to make sure the job was done. Then he’d charge straight down the hallway on a direct route to the biscuit tin, leaving Norman to catch hold of the twanging door and close it softly as he brought up the rear. 

It used to drive me crazy every time I’d catch sight of the mortally injured wall where the front door handle bounced, day after day. But in the weeks after Jax died I saw the way Norman glanced over at that crumbling hole in the plaster as he passed, and it made me give silent thanks for lying, no good, unreliable tradesmen that don’t know their four o’clocks from their fourth of Junes. 

That hole is all that’s left of Jax in our house now, and it’s eating away at the wall like it’s got teeth. 


5

NORMAN

First rule of comedy: Always know where the joke is going 


Jax says that if you don’t know where you’re going you’re never going to know when you get there and you can’t argue with that, Normie boy. Not that I’d want to because it makes pretty good sense when you think about it. I mean imagine if you just walked out the door every morning without having any idea of where you’re on your way to. How would you know to stop walking when you got to the bus stop and not just keep going to the beach? Or even further? Or if you didn’t know you were supposed to get off at school how would you know not to just sit on the bus all day doing loops around Penzance and Newlyn? 

Jax reckons it’s the same with a joke. Because you’ve got to know where the punchline is before you set off otherwise you’re just going to end up going around and around in circles looking for a way out. And there’s nothing too funny about someone wandering around and around in circles, although there are probably some exceptions to that and I think maybe Dave Allen is one of them. 

Mum says there isn’t anyone else on the planet whose brain works the way that Jaxy’s does and I’m pretty sure she’s right. I reckon it’s because he’s the coolest guy on this or any other planet, but he says it’s because the inside of his head is just like a big old ideas factory and he wouldn’t be able to stop them coming out even if he tried. Which luckily he never has or else we wouldn’t have had some of the most excellent fun ever. 

Like when I suggested we should have a comedy DVD marathon so we could work out once and for all who our favourites were. Jax said that if we were going to do it then we had to make a plan and do it right and that’s how he invented DVD Dynamite Saturday Night. We made a proper folded up paper programme with a list of the DVDs we were going to watch and in what exact order we’d play them, and even the times for when it was intermission so we could go for a wee and make cheese on toast and hot chocolates and stuff. Then we got dressed up in our comedy outfits because Jax said that was called getting into character and we even made a ticket with ‘Admit One: DVD Dynamite Saturday Night’ on it so we could invite Mum to come as well. And she did and it was the best Saturday night ever, even though we had so much fun we totally forgot to decide who we liked the best and now I’m never going to know who would have got Jaxy’s vote.  

Another time we were just sitting in my room talking about what cheese we reckoned was the best for melting and kapow! Jax came up with the Ultimate Cheese-Off Experiment plan. We made a banner out of an old pillow case with U.C.O.E 2017 on it because the whole name didn’t fit, and Mum took us to Tesco’s and we bought loads of different kinds of cheese. Even the expensive ones. Then Jax made a list with the names of them and five columns labelled gooey, gooier, gooiest, rubbish and totally rubbish to put our ticks and crosses in. It turned out he needn’t have bothered with the last two because they stayed totally empty, but then we ended up writing a really cool joke about never meeting a cheese we didn’t like. So that was like two ideas out of the factory for the price of one.  

A lot Jax’s best ideas pop into his head when he’s supposed to be doing other things like homework or sleeping or taking out the bins for his mum. Or watching the One Show Children in Need special, which is when out of nowhere he goes, Norman I reckon we need to make a mega genius super supreme comedy plan so we know where we’re going. And all I knew was that if Jax was going somewhere I wanted to be with him when he got there. 

When we finished Jax and Norman’s Five Year Plan Jax goes Norman Foreman you are the bees knees and I am the dog’s bollocks and there’s nothing in the world that can stop us now. And I knew straight away that he was right, because not only did we know for absolute sure where we were going, we also knew exactly when we were going to get there. Which was 7:15 pm on the first Friday in August after two changes on National Rail. 


Excerpted from The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman @ 2021 by Julietta Henderson, used with permission by MIRA Books.

Julietta Henderson is a full-time writer and comedy fan who splits her time between her home country of Australia and the UK. The Funny Thing about Norman Foreman is Julietta’s first novel.


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Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Funny-Thing-About-Norman-Foreman/dp/0778331954 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-funny-thing-about-norman-foreman-julietta-henderson/1136909248 

Bookshop: https://bookshop.org/books/the-funny-thing-about-norman-foreman/9780778331957 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778331957 

Libro.fm: https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781488210693 

Books-A-Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/Funny-Thing-about-Norman-Foreman/Julietta-Henderson/9780778331957?id=8165955399761 

Target: https://www.target.com/p/the-funny-thing-about-norman-foreman-by-julietta-henderson-hardcover/-/A-80028495 

Walmart: https://www.walmart.com/ip/The-Funny-Thing-about-Norman-Foreman-Original-ed-Hardcover-9780778331957/588572104 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-funny-thing-about-norman/9780778331957-item.html 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-funny-thing-about-norman-foreman-3 

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Julietta_Henderson_The_Funny_Thing_About_Norman_Fo?id=EG3eDwAAQBAJ&hl=en 

Audible: https://www.amazon.com/Funny-Thing-About-Norman-Foreman/dp/B089ZN5RXJ